Ghislaine Maxwell sentencing: 7 accusers write to judge
NEW YORK - Seven women who say Ghislaine Maxwell helped Jeffrey Epstein steal the innocence of their youth and poison the promise of their future are asking a judge to consider their pain as she decides what prison sentence she will dispense Tuesday to the incarcerated British woman.
Their statements were put in the public case file late Friday by Manhattan prosecutors who have asked U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan to sentence Maxwell to 30 to 55 years in prison for "monstrous" crimes resulting in a December sex trafficking conviction for a socialite who has been jailed since her July 2020 arrest.
Four women testified at Maxwell's monthlong trial, where they described sexual attacks on teenage girls from 1994 to 2004 by Epstein and Maxwell at Epstein's mansions and estates in Manhattan, New Mexico, Florida and the Virgin Islands.
In a statement, Annie Farmer, who testified at trial and spoke at Epstein's bail hearing before he killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial, said Maxwell's lack of remorse and her repeated lies about victims forced "a long fight for justice that has felt like a black hole sucking in our precious time, energy and wellbeing."
Defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim included the victim statements in a submission to the judge Friday after the defense asked for a sentence of no more than five years, but she heavily redacted portions in asking the judge to disregard some entirely because they were not directly a part of the case that resulted in Maxwell's conviction.
Prosecutors, though, said no redactions were required or necessary because any privacy interests belonged to victims and none asked for their statements to be sealed. They added that no "due process interest is protected by withholding victim impact statements from the public." Three victims may speak at sentencing.
Included were nine graphic pictures of Sarah Ransome taken in a hospital bed after two suicide attempts she blames on the trauma of over a half year spent as a "sex toy" for Epstein and Maxwell and others that left her so distressed that she once considered jumping from a cliff into shark-infested waters off Epstein's sprawling Virgin Islands estate.
Ransome, who wrote a book "Silenced No More" and traveled from her England home to observe Maxwell's trial, said she was stopped from taking the plunge by "Maxwell and company" moments before jumping but that at the time, "that extremely risky escape seemed more appealing than being raped one more time."
One woman, "Kate," a former British model who testified at trial, spoke of the "silent screams" inside the minds of girls who were not yet adults when Maxwell and Epstein flashed wealth and ties to famous and powerful people before subjecting them to sex abuse and then fear so they would never disobey their prurient quests.
Calling Maxwell "dangerous and devious," Maria Farmer said her intersection with the pair and sexual assault by Epstein during a trip to Ohio cost her a promising career as an artist and leaves her still feeling unsafe outside, firm in a belief that Maxwell will harm her "if she ever has a way." She is the sister of Annie Farmer.
Another, Virginia Giuffre, said Maxwell "opened the door to hell" as she joked that she was like a new mother to dozens of girls and young women she fed to her financier boyfriend and later boss. "Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it."
She added: "You could have put an end to the rapes, the molestations, the sickening manipulations that you arranged, witnessed and even took part in. You could’ve called the authorities and reported that you were a part of something awful. ... Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell. You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims."
The AP does not identify people who say they were victims of sexual assault unless they have consented to being identified.